Small scale farmers across the country are set to benefit from the Agrochemical Association of Kenya (AAK) newly launched Spray Service Provider (SSP) Project. According to AAK, Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Eric Kimunguyi, the project is aimed at training and empowering youth who normally render pesticides spray services to small scale farmers across the country.
Mr. Kimunguyi added that “Our objective as AAK is to ensure that the SSP offers professional spray services to small scale farmers with the aim of bolstering food security and food safety in the country’s agricultural and food sectors. In addition, the SSP project will ensure that the safe disposal of empty pesticide containers and fight against anti-counterfeit pesticides in the industry is enhanced.”
The Project will be carried out in 10 counties namely Kisii, Migori, Homabay, Kisumu, Siaya, Busia, Kakamega, Vihiga, Kitui and Taita Taveta.
“The core objectives of the programme include setting up of a profitable and sustainable Integrate Pest Management (IPM) – based rural-focused SSP enterprises, increased food production and safety of the selected value chains for local and international markets and strengthening of AAK’s capacity on responsible use of pesticides. We are targeting to train a total of 800 SSPs whereby in each county 80 SSPs will be trained in the project, “comments Mr. Kimunguyi.
These 800 SSPs are expected to offer their services in the horticulture and dairy sectors by offering pest and disease scouting, crop and livestock spraying, training and extension services to rural communities in the 10 counties. During the training, 200 Agro dealers and input suppliers will also undergo an agro dealer development training so as to link them to the already trained SSPs in a bid to foster a cohesive business model at the rural level.
Mr. Kimunguyi says “This will ensure that the distribution and application of illicit and counterfeit agrochemicals is stemmed. During the 12 month implementation phase, the project aims at establishing Empty Pesticide Container (EPC) disposal centres in the 10 counties so as to collect 5 Tons of EPC for safe disposal. The AAK team and County Governments in these respective counties will be involved in offering business linkages to enhance business for the SSPs by establishing demonstration sites, field days, market storms and road shows to ensure that the farmers in these regions are sensitized and made aware of the SSP within their counties. The SSPs will be mentored and monitored while at the same time county SSP and Agro dealers Associations will be formed so as to create viable business models that aim at sustainability in their agroprenuership ventures.”
The SSP project is expected to create employment for 800 youths in the 10 counties while at the same time empowering women and youth to take up agribusiness as source of livelihood.
Previous collaboration has managed to train 769 SSPs in 14 counties in collaboration with ASDSP and SNV, and in the new collaboration with USAID, this figure is expected to double to over 1500 SSPs in 24 counties.
The SSP project is to be carried out in partnership with the USAID funded Kenya Crops and Dairy Markets System Development (KCDMSD) programme under the Feed the Future initiative and the respective county government departments of agriculture.